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Poster: Diamondhead Date: Dec 1, 2010 8:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: St. Stephen?

So I'm really bad on details. I just read that they stopped playing StS in 1983. Why, and why did they never revive it again? Anyone know any bedtime stories?

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 1, 2010 9:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: St. Stephen?

Garcia said in '88:
"We used it up... It's got little idiosyncracies and verses that are different from each other...it's unnecessarily difficult. It's been made tricky. It's got a bridge in the middle that doesn't really fit in... It has a couple of things that work real good, but finally, the stuff that doesn't work overpowers the stuff that does work... If you don't remember every bit of it: 'Let's see, what verse is this?' They're not interchangeable - you have to do them in order. So a song like St Stephen is a cop. It's our musical policeman: if we don't do it the way it wants to go, it doesn't work at all. That means it's inflexible.
"When you get good enough at those kinds of pieces, people think, 'Wow, that's really far out and open,' but that's an illusion. It's just written complicated - what we need is material that is authentically open."

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Poster: Diamondhead Date: Dec 2, 2010 10:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: St. Stephen?

Thanks LiA. Really interesting. And I can believe it.

But, where does that leave Victim or Crime in the general scheme of things? :)

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Dec 2, 2010 11:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: St. Stephen?

Lying by the side of the road in a pile of it's own excrement.


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Poster: hasher Date: Dec 1, 2010 10:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: St. Stephen?

Very cool! Another great post LiA!

Thinking back to how many times I've heard the song messed up a bit(wrong vocal timing, bridge timing, etc.), what Garcia said makes a lot of sense. I think St.Stephen and other songs like it(the eleven) that are "tricky" were better suited for the band in their early period when they were constantly practicing and listening to their shows. It speaks to why certain songs were dropped and how the band was reluctant to bust them out when called for in later years.

Like most people I'm a big fan of the early St. Stephens. Those blisteringly rocking versions when the band was really on. Nothing quite tops the Live/Dead version to me but listening to the new RTs, the version from 5/23/69 really comes close.

One version that has always fascinated me is the one from 1/22/78. That D to G ? Jam they do that builds and builds until the sky(or basketball gym) opens and a giant lightning bolt reigns down and steals everyones face before they drop back into the final verse. Yeah you know what I'm talking about. That one.
Where did it come from? I haven't heard too many other versions from the time period and I know they'd been toying with that crescendo jam as far back as late 69? 70? but it never fully developed into that miraculous, soul lifting, glorious orchestral piece of heaven it did on that night before disappearing never to be seen or heard again as far as I know. Where did it go?
It's moments like that that have kept me listening year after year. Searching for the sound.


It's a little too late at night for me to have attempted a post like this. If it were morning and I were drinking coffee I might have been able to convey what Im trying to describe a bit better. Maybe. So please forgive my drowsy dribbling ramblings. Hopefully, you caught my drift.

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Dec 2, 2010 4:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: St. Stephen?

definitely caught your drift, running off to listen to 1/22/78

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 2, 2010 1:05pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: St. Stephen?

Wait a minute! You have some homework to complete first young lady!

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Dec 2, 2010 3:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: St. Stephen?

Yikes! Back to Saint Stephen soon, I promise. will there be a test?

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Poster: Rueben Finklestein Date: Dec 2, 2010 12:14am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: St. Stephen?

Interesting comments! I have to say, I haven't cared much for St. Stephen for a number of years; shifting concerns and enjoyment. However, just this morning I was listening to a 1977 show and it hit me what a great song it is and I want to hear more! Does anyone remember that hilarious skit on Saturday Night Live, about 1979-80 when now-Senator Franken asks Brent Mydland how to play St. Stephen and he can't figure out the first note??

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Dec 2, 2010 10:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: St. Stephen?

Try this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oBwGzGlTlY

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Dec 3, 2010 7:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: St. Stephen?

Love this skit. December '80, Brent admits he just can't learn St Stephen... But Al Franken asks him to play it anyway.
Brent is incredulous, and asks, “Wouldn’t you rather hear Far From Me or Easy to Love You?”
“Well, we haven’t really heard St Stephen for a while…”
“That’s ‘cause I can’t play it!”
“Why don’t you give it a shot for us?”
“You asked for it…”
Brent then can't figure out the riff! (Much like Garcia in real life...)

It's great to see the band poke merciless fun at themselves like this.

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Poster: Rueben Finklestein Date: Dec 2, 2010 12:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: St. Stephen?

Ah yes, I forgot the magic of You Tube! I should have asked my kids...

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Poster: Finster Baby Date: Dec 2, 2010 5:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: St. Stephen?

Very interesting LiA.....
Had not seen those comments before.

It does make me wonder if those sentiments were shared by the rest of the band....

It seems that the post Jerry lineups have resurrected the tune(with great frequency) so I wonder if Jerry was the only one that felt the tune was used up.

Or do the latter bands play it only because they know that people want to hear it? I would say they probably resurrected it because Phil et. al. feel that there is still more ground there to be explored.